Benedetto, seminarian of the Saint James Vicariate, offers us an original way to prepare for confession, an important exercise during the weeks of Lent.

Account of Conscience and Preparation for Confession

Part 1
Wonderful are your works; that I know very well (Psalm 139:14).

Try to remember all the blessings you have received since the time you were born, everything that is good, beautiful and happy that happened to you in your lifetime.

- Think about the perfection of your body, your health, the intellect you have received, your emotions, your ability to love and to radiate life.
- Think about family, the first society you knew and from which you received life, protection, care and satisfaction, education, values, guidance and support.
- Think about the friends you have known and who filled you with joy at their presence, about all the wonderful experiences you had together, about how wonderful it is to go out of ourselves and meet others. Let us emphasize that the human is made for relationship with the other.
- Think about your little daily successes, achievements in simple but important tasks, how you were built up and developed your talents.
- Think about certain people who made you feel loved, accepted, valued, worthy, wanted.
- Think about people from whom you learnt the mysteries of life, those who taught you something you did not know before and that you will never forget.

Try to remember the difficult moments in your life.

- Think of the person who betrayed you
- Think of the person you betrayed
- Think of the one who broke your heart
- Think about the misunderstandings with your loved ones
- Think of the departures you did or suffered from
- Think of the moments of darkness and confusion
- Think of the moments of hopelessness
- Think of the falls into immoral behavior
- Think of the times you lost your self esteem

Contemplate the fact that both in the first series and in the second, God was close to you and followed the story of your life with his providence, joyful in our joys, never distancing Himself when you distanced yourself.

Pray for a few moments with these verses from Psalm 139

Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.
If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.
If I say, "Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,"
even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Part 2
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me (Psalm 51:3).

- Your relationship with God

- Try to see what the word “God” means to you – jot down a definition
- Try to understand if His presence in your life was always valued and desired. If you could have lived without Him, what would it have been like? What does God add to your life? Did you always think like this?
- If God were not in the first place, what would you have in His place?
- Do you sometimes feel the need to pray? If you did, what kind of prayer: thanksgiving, praise, request, plea, argument?

- Your relationship with yourself

- Be conscious of yourself and everything you are, of everything you have received from God. You are perfection and unity of body, soul and mind.
- Your body: Are you reconciled with your body or do you fight with it, are you jealous of the body of others? Do you take care of the basic needs of the body? Do you harm it with toxic or unhealthy materials (alcohol, drugs, smoking…)? Do you protect its privacy or do you like exposing it? Did you use the wonderful ability to receive and give pleasure at inappropriate times? Outside of the mutual and eternal giving of marriage? Do you believe that you will grow old and die one day and that your body will rise on the day of the resurrection?
- Your soul: Even though one cannot see it, you have a soul. How do you connect with it? Do you give it the spiritual food it needs(reading the Scriptures, receiving the Body of Christ at mass, praying…)? Do you take care to preserve it from harm and sin? Do you connect with your soul from time to time?
- Your mind: Are you aware that you are intelligent? Do you study enough? Do you look for the answers for your curiosity? What do you put into your head? Do you develop your skills? Do you seek wisdom? Do you work hard to the best of your abilities?

- Your relationship with others

- Do you take time to evaluate the relationships you are in? Do you have good friends? Do you know how to be a good friend? Are you able to give? And receive?
- Think about the people you are not friends with. How do you behave with those with whom you have difficulty?
- Do you know how to accept everyone, despite their opinions, their beliefs, their age?
- Are their people you exploited or used in order to get something from them?
- How do you relate to society at large, to the state, do you feel responsible? Do you contribute to justice, do you respect the laws, do you help the poor and needy? Are your eyes open to the needs of the world around you?

- Your relationship with the environment

Do you respect nature? Animals? Do you pollute gratuitously? Do you care about the environment?

Pray for a few moments with these verses from Psalm 51

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and put a new and right spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence, and do not take your holy spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and sustain in me a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from bloodshed, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your deliverance.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased. The sacrifice acceptable to God is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.

Part 3
Then I said, "Here I am; in the scroll of the book it is written of me.
I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart" (Psalm 40:7-8)

- Strong in the faith that God is not shocked by your sins, strong in the confidence in His unending mercy, you are renewed in your willingness to strengthen your relationship with Him, to get to know Him even more and to serve Him in your life.
Here are some suggestions of things that you can start doing as a sign of repentance and of new direction in your life. Choose one or two of them or more, and ask God to give you the necessary determination and perseverance.

- Fix a time each day for prayer (aquarter of an hour, half an hour, an hour… you decide). There are different ways to pray and the brown prayer book of the Vicariate can help you choose how to pray.
- Consecrate an hour or two every week to voluntary activity. Look for places that need support, where you can help for free, giving time according to your possibilities.
- Decide to participate more regularly at mass on Sundays (or Saturdays) and on special feast days.
- Organize wisely and logically your time, finding a healthy balance among times for study, work, hobbies, sport, recreation…
- Start healing unhealthy habits and direct yourselves to the supreme good with much patience.
- Heal the specific relationship with a particular person where it has gone wrong.
- Participate with greater regularity in the activities that are proposed by the kehilla.
- ……..
- ………

Ask God, the Almighty Father and Creator of all to help you in order to grow stronger in the face of your weakness and to protect you from sin, strengthening your faith.
Ask Jesus Christ, who died for you and rose from the dead in order to free you from death, to help you get over your weakness, protect you from sin and strengthen your faith.
Ask the Holy Spirit, who lives in you, to help you get over your weakness, protect you from sin and strengthen your faith.
Ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to pray for you so that you might get over your weakness, and that she might protect you from sin and strengthen your faith in God.

End this time of prayer with an Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be to the Father.